Forever Wild Press


In Search of Space coverIn Search of Space - Journeys In Wild Places

ISBN 978 0 646 96657 1

Nature writing in the tradition of its best practitioners such as Peter Mattheissen, Barry Lopez and Edward Abbey is a virtually unknown genre in Australia. Part travelogue, part memoir, nature writing is meditative and personal. In Search Of Space is all these things. A collection of essays about journeys made by Ross Brownscombe in wild places, mostly in Australia but also in what he calls his 'spiritual home', Alaska. Sometimes alone, mostly with his wife and children, whether exploring the work of American nature writer Edward Abbey on a raft trip down the Franklin River or extolling the virtues of solo hiking in wild places, these essays are idiosyncratic reports of encounters with wild places and they all have one thing in common - exploration: of landscape, ideas, self, family.

With a foreword by Bob Brown, this diverse and inspired collection showcases Brownscombe's signature style -- intimate, occasionally provocative, lyrical. His curiosity takes him from the canyons of his beloved Blue Mountains to the Central Australian desert where he makes a surprise discovery. He records an encounter on a cold, lonely landscape with a mysterious woman who is not what she seems and in Southwest Tasmania confronts the burden of extinction. He and his wife spend their honeymoon floating down a wild river in Alaska on a sixteen day journey of a lifetime and fifteen years later they reprise the journey on a different Alaskan river with their two young children. This time they get closer to wildness than any of them had ever bargained for.

In Search Of Space is a rare chance 'to step boldly into the provinces of imagination and emotion, into places where trees and animals become fellow beings and old friends. Out in the wild, this fraternity is easy to believe in. It can be found; it can be followed.'


'... a very significant contribution to nature writing here in Australia. Its a brilliant bit of work. In this book Ross seeks to add a stone to the small cairn of volumes that are truly based on exploring, understanding and celebrating this continent’s wild landscapes. In this he does a great job. His writing is very descriptive of specific landscape and terrain, which is a form of beauty to me. There is nothing generic about this book – each section steps straight from the landscape that inspired it.' Cam Walker, Friends Of the Earth, June, 2018.

Read the full review here

Available now (AUD$45 including postage/handling Australia only )

Blue Rivers - A Narrative of Time in the Blue Mountains

ISBN 0 646 32204 4

Blue Rivers cover

The Blue Mountains as we have never seen them before. A unique book that is history, geology, travel, but above all, the personal odyssey of one man who wanted to see, in his own way, the priceless natural heritage of the Blue Mountains wilderness:

'I wanted to embrace the whole of the country and the moments and the moods of the mountains; the dry, blowing heat, the soaking, chilling rain, the scratchy bush, the quiet forest woodlands, the great granite tors, the call of the spotted pardalote, the wild, fiendish cry of the raven, the wind sighing up the ravines and ever and forever the sound of mountain water - the creeks and the rivers with the still pools and the flashing rapids and the tumbled boulders.'

But this is not just a travel book. Although he was travelling solo, the writer wasn't alone and in the pages of BLUE RIVERS are some of the first explorers who first traversed this country. We see the land as they described it in their journals and we discover just what sort of people they were who ventured into the wilderness of BLUE RIVERS country two hundred years ago.


'Ross Brownscombe's passionate and sometimes beautiful book belongs to the rich tradition of the nature essay - a non-fiction form deeply bedded in place, often lyrical and contemplative, and occasionally polemical, that looks forthe sacred in the land and for ways of belonging there.' Mark Tredinnick, The Canberra Times, 28.11.98.

'Brownscombe's achievement is not that he has 'done the rivers' but that he has experienced them in a deep, personal way and, in writing this book, enabled the reader to intimately participate. We can share his solitude and all the anxiety, frustration, anger, exhilaration and pleasure that goes with it. If you would like a refreshing dose of wild rejuvenation, try this book. Find a quiet spot, take one river at a time, take your time and be open. Let Ross Brownscombe take you down the river.' Andy Macqueen, The Bushwalker, October 1997.

'Brownscombe is a budding Peter Mattheissen or Barry Lopez, both acknowledged masters of writing about the wilderness and this book has crystallised as a chronicle of odysseys through the Blue Mountains wilderness. Odyssey is certainly the right word - it has the right connotation of journeys which are arduous, spiritual and poetically recorded. He is a man who delights in rivers as the epitome of all that is pure and beautiful about wilderness. Brownscombe shows us how time spent in the wilderness can strip us of our foolish adherence to fashions of thought and can build again those bridges to the natural world which not so long ago were our birthright. Through the whole book runs a sense of worth, not only of wilderness but of the wisdom of making journeys through it. I have been keeping my eyes open, but I have not yet encountered a book of prose which does as much justice to the Australian wilderness as Blue Rivers.' Lincoln Hall. Author of White Limbo

Buy this book online (AUD$15 including postage/handling Australia only )

On Suspect Terrain coverOn Suspect Terrain - Journals of Exploration in the Blue Mountains

ISBN 0 646 43876 X

Who were the first European explorers into the Blue Mountains? Were they convicts escaping harsh punishment or looking for a paradise on the other side of the mountains? Were they naturalists and collectors, eager to observe new animals and plants and to see what other mysteries were hidden in recesses of the mountains that rose steeply on the other side of the Hawkesbury River? How many were rich, land-owning gentlemen looking for a bit of sport and a spot of fishing? More importantly, were they 'agents of empire'? Did they come at the bidding of bureaucrats in London, to appropriate the biological wealth of a wilderness untouched by Europeans?

Here, in the first-ever comprehensive study of early colonial exploration in the Blue Mountains we meet these men for ourselves. And also, published together for the first time are their journals, transcribed word-for-word to capture the flavour of the hard work and difficult country and the frontier encounters with the First Australians. In addition each journal is accompanied by extensive annotations that explain the context of each journey, provide crucial biographical detail and allow the reader to follow each journey step-by-step through the country, most of which thankfully is much the same now as it was then.

Read a review by Paul Genoni, Curtin University of Technology.

Another review from The Canberra Times

Buy this book online (AUD$50 including postage/handling Australia only)

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Other places to buy the books

Megalong Books

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